Prefaces to Translations: A Microhistory of Translation

Linghui ZHU


Prefaces, as interface between translator and reader, translation and relevant historical contexts, offer an access to translation activities in history. A survey of prefaces in existing studies suggest that only some canonized pieces have been included into the writing of translation history. Based on the profiles of prefaces to translation, that is, who are the translators, what has been translated, why and how is it translated, it is argued that prefaces are potential in writing a microhistory of translation with marginal, trival, piecemeal records.


Prefaces to translations; Translation history; Microhistory; Interpretation

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Batchelor, K. (2018). Translation and paratext. London and New York: Routledge.

Chen, F. K. (2002). A history of China’s translation theory. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Languages Education Press.

Fang, H. W. (2005). The translation history of China in the 20th century. Xi’an: Northwest University Press.

Genette, G., & Maclean, M. (1991). Introduction to the paratext. New Literary History, 22, 261-272.

Lefevere, A. (2004). Translation, rewriting and the manipulation of literary fame. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.

Liang, Q. C. (2006). Chinese historical researches. Shanghai: Shanghai Chinese Classics Publishing House.

Luo, X. Z. (2009). Essays on translation. Beijing: The Commercial Press.

Mu, L. (2000). A survey of China’s translation history in Chinese Translators’ Journal, 1.

Zhang, J. Y. (1993). Prefaces. In New Historicism and Literary Criticism. Beijing: Beijing University Press.



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